Maria Griffin (Spokane Tribe) is the Center Director for the NLCC TTA Center. She provides leadership for the TTA Director and the Project Coordinator and ensures that all staff, subcontractors, and consultants work together to provide quality training and technical assistance for the recipients. In addition to managing the Center, Maria acts as back-up to the TTA Director and provides TTA in community engagement, grant and proposal writing, grant and program/project management, finance management, cultural competency, social and economic development, employee development, project/program planning and development, organizational alignment, and wellness education.

Language Story

Maria Griffin began her language journey in 1974 when she attended her grandparents’ church on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The pastor at the church was a tribal elder and gave his sermons in the Spokane Language (Salish) and the congregation sung the hymns in Salish. Prior to this Maria heard Salish spoken between her grandparents and among their friends, but did not really register the connection between language and spirit until the pastor passed away and she wasn’t able to enjoy the special connection.

Ironically, she has worked with people who are fluent in Salish, but had not the time or the inclination to really learn the language. Up until several months ago, Maria only knew a few words in Salish and met Barry Moses when she started to attend Spokane Language sessions at the local immersion school at night. Currently, Maria is taking time to learn more words and phrases with Barry’s help and patience.


Maria holds a Master of Arts in English, emphasis in Rhetoric, Composition, and Technical Communication from Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA. She also holds a diploma in Clinical Laboratory Science from Sacred Heart School of Medical Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry both with the emphasis of Biotechnology from Eastern Washington University.

Sister Sky, Inc.

Maria is the Senior Project Director at Sister Sky, Inc. She provides oversight to most of the federal contracts that Sister Sky, Inc. holds. Maria also assists in developing processes and policy for project management, writing proposals for contracts, as well as mentors and trains all her teams to work in harmony and complete contracts with quality, on time, and within budget.

Other Professional Experience

Maria volunteers in the community in a couple of ways. She is on the board of directors for Spokane Tribal Network, a Native-led 501(c)3 nonprofit that seeks to improve the health and wellness of Spokane tribal members. She also provides skill-building training to the rest of the board and the staff. Maria also volunteers with the Spokane Public Library as a community liaison with Native people. For example, she assisted the library in finding Native artists and speakers for Native American Heritage Month and participated as a speaker during November 2017. Maria also provides the Salish School of Spokane as a community member and has assisted with the development of the new strategic plan and volunteers for fundraiser and school program events.

Maria is a small business owner. She is a professional writer and has been hired to write health reports, product manuals, process manuals, and proposals for grants. For example, as a grant writer for her tribe, Maria specifically targeted and wrote proposals to fund its mental health services and domestic violence prevention efforts through programs that help the children.

Maria is an educator. She is a certified Indianpreneurship trainer and was a faculty member at Eastern Washington University for 5 years. Maria taught composition and technical writing for the English Department, medical microbiology for the Biology Department, and American Indian women writers for the American Indian Studies Department. She developed curricula, activities, and program requirements as well as acted as Blackboard liaison for the English department.

Maria has worked in the healthcare field as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in Hematology (oncology focus), Microbiology, Cytogenetics, and Clinical Chemistry as well as a phlebotomist for local clinics.  

Areas of Expertise

  • Community Engagement
  • Technical Writing
  • Grant Writing
  • Proposal Writing
  • Business Development
  • Program Planning and Development
  • Social Marketing
  • Curriculum Design
  • Teaching Methods
  • Public Speaking
  • Group Facilitation
  • Leadership Education
  • Virtual Training